Sunset Over Chocolate Mountains

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9780802137999: Sunset Over Chocolate Mountains
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Susan Elderkin's brilliant Sunset Over Chocolate Mountains explores our places in the lives of our loved ones and in the universe. Theobald Moon lives in a lonely corner of the Arizona desert, tending his spectacular cactus garden, his tiny mobile home, and his astounding appetite. He has fled a stifled, cardigan-and-tea-cozy life in south London for this unfamiliar country and is raising Josephine, who has known no other life than their cheerful yet isolated American one. But when a jangling ice-cream truck finds its way into the desert carrying two ill-fated lovers--a pregnant Slovakian shoemaker and a mysterious ice-cream man--it throws Theo's and Josie's careful lives into a chaotic state for which they're totally unprepared. Fantastic upheaval ensues, as well as an inspired redemption. Innovative and accessible, funny and profound, Elderkin's "beautiful, touching story" (Bookseller) explores love and responsibility, and the joys and fears such emotions inspire. It is a rare and tantalizing first novel.

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Review:

When Theobald Moon hits 34, his mother dies and he decides to leave South London far behind and invest in a plot of land in Arizona. The photo he receives of "a strip of grit half an inch high flecked with tufts of grass" makes him wonder if "he'd bought a chunk of sky". Undeterred, he packs up his corduroys, hand-knitted cardigans and a supply of English sweets and heads off. In Theo, Susan Elderkin has created an amiable, vulnerable, fat and funny character, who beneath the "sun's reflective severity" of the Sonoran Desert discovers "a slight stretching of what he presumed to be his soul". Each morning, Theo drinks his own pee and performs yoga amongst his garden of cholla cacti and saguaros in a majestically different environment, which brings great change to the tender Mr Moon. Endearing and gently comic, Theo contrasts sharply with his cynical daughter, Josephine, who's wise beyond her years even at four. The novel follows her development from adoring child into sullen, embarrassed adolescent, with wry and cleverly observed detail and emotion. Josephine delights in her fairytale surroundings until she encounters a pair of golden high-heeled sandals and asks awkward questions about the whereabouts of her mother.

In a surprising but deftly handled switch, Elderkin takes the action to a Slovakian shoe factory where Eva Ligocka is about to fall madly in love with a travelling ice-cream vendor called Tibor, the only man who doesn't smell of leather. In the Eastern European sections, the writing itself becomes more beautifully polished. The fabulous and often hilarious journey that brings Eva to Theo's door is central to the novel.

The title which comes from an invented ice-cream flavour suggests something much more sweet and sentimental than what's offered in Elderkin's first novel. She pulls off the bizarre meeting between the incongruous characters with great delicacy and the book's tragedies are delivered with quiet, low-key assurance. A witty, charming and sensual debut that plays on many English-American differences, especially those around food. --Cherry Smyth

Review:

'Rich, strange, unclassifiable ... like Captain Corelli's Mandolin. Sunset Over Chocolate Mountains has an intricate structure, evoking a tenderness and charm that weave magically around its characters. Heartfelt and stylish.' The Times

'This is a bold, captivating debut from an intelligent new voice.' Daily Mail

'Richly imaginative, strange and compelling, this novel contains as many stinging surprises as the desert in which it is set.' Guardian

'It is likely that Susan Elderkin will continue entertaining and moving us. A first-rate writer of literature.' Observer

'Fresh and original.' Company

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780871138088: Sunset over Chocolate Mountains

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ISBN 10:  0871138085 ISBN 13:  9780871138088
Publisher: Avalon Travel Publishing, 2000
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9781841151991: Sunset Over Chocolate Mountains

Fourth..., 2000
Softcover

9781841152004: Sunset Over Chocolate Mountains

Fourth..., 2001
Softcover

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Book Description Grove Press / Atlantic Monthly Press, United States, 2001. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English. Brand new Book. Susan Elderkin's brilliant Sunset Over Chocolate Mountains explores our places in the lives of our loved ones and in the universe. Theobald Moon lives in a lonely corner of the Arizona desert, tending his spectacular cactus garden, his tiny mobile home, and his astounding appetite. He has fled a stifled, cardigan-and-tea-cozy life in south London for this unfamiliar country and is raising Josephine, who has known no other life than their cheerful yet isolated American one. But when a jangling ice-cream truck finds its way into the desert carrying two ill-fated lovers--a pregnant Slovakian shoemaker and a mysterious ice-cream man--it throws Theo's and Josie's careful lives into a chaotic state for which they're totally unprepared. Fantastic upheaval ensues, as well as an inspired redemption. Innovative and accessible, funny and profound, Elderkin's "beautiful, touching story" (Bookseller) explores love and responsibility, and the joys and fears such emotions inspire. It is a rare and tantalizing first novel. Seller Inventory # BTE9780802137999

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